HC Deb 12 December 1939 vol 355 cc1026-8
81. Mr. Lunn

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that in Article 49 of the Royal Warrant it is stated that in the case of an unmarried soldier killed in the present war his parents cannot receive a pension unless they are in pecuniary need or there is whole or part incapacity of self-support; and whether he will see to it that these words are deleted from the Royal Warrant so that pensions can be paid in all cases?

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)

The conditions of Article 49 of the Royal Warrant are those which have for many years been applicable in Great War cases and follow generally the recommendations of a Select Committee of this House in 1919.

Mr. Lunn

Were these the conditions in the last war; if not, cannot we have equal conditions in this war?

Sir W. Womersley

That matter is being dealt with by my advisory committee.

Mr. T. Smith

Does not the hon. Gentleman think that parents are entitled to more consideration than the Warrant gives?

Sir W. Womersley

Again, that matter is under consideration.

Mr. George Griffiths

Why are these people under observation by the means test authorities all the time? All the time they are in the homes of the soldiers, and it is abominable. [Laughter.] It is no laughing matter.

Sir W. Womersley

It is based upon our experience in dealing with cases in years gone by.

82. Mr. T. Williams

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will consider the issue of a copy of the form of application for special assistance, M.S.A.C. 21, to all present recipients of family or dependants' allowances through the medium of the offices of payment, instead of through the offices of the Unemployment Assistance Board to individual applicants?

Sir W. Womersley

I have made inquiries as to the hon. Member's suggestion, but I am afraid that it would be impracticable to adopt it.

83. Mr. T. Williams

asked the Minister of Pensions whether the Central Advisory Committee or the War Service Grants Advisory Committee are to give consideration to the revision of the present conditions governing the issue of dependants' allowances?

Sir W. Womersley

Neither my Central Advisory Committee nor the War Service Grants Advisory Committee has any responsibility with regard to the dependants' allowances issued by the Service Departments under their own regulations.

Mr. Williams

Has not the Minister of Pensions taken over the job of administering allowances although no allowances are possible under the regulations issued by the War Office?

Sir W. Womersley

We are dealing with war service grants additional to the grants made under the regulations.

Mr. Williams

Is not the Minister forced to admit dependants' allowances where dependants' allowances are permissible; and since, under the existing regulations, only one out of 20 will be able to qualify for a dependants' allowance, are we to understand that these regulations are under reconsideration?

Sir W. Womersley

I am concerned with what are known as hardship cases.

84. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in view of the hardship frequently caused to the relatives of soldiers who die on service from causes described by the War Office as not directly attributable to service, he will reconsider the present regulations and take some early opportunity to explain to the House the decisions arrived at?

Sir W. Womersley

The question whether death during service is attributable to such service or not is decided in the light of the man's medical and service history on the advice of the responsible medical officers. If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind in which he has special, reason to question the decision, I shall be happy to look into it.

Mr. Stewart

May I inform my hon. Friend that I have a case which I have pressed upon the War Office and which has been examined in great detail without any satisfaction at all? May I come to him with that case?

Sir W. Womersley

I suggest that my hon. Friend transfers it to me.